“and friends this is the realest place I know,
it makes me squirm like a worm I am so grateful […]”
-Ross Gay, from “Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude”
What I wished you before, but harder.”
-Richard Wilbur, from “The Writer”
The realest place I know, Gay writes, and I realize that some of the moments that seem the most important, the move lived—the most loving—are the moments when the truth of something overflows past itself. Warm stone beneath my feet. A finger of dark winter wind. A nod from a friend. It makes me squirm like a worm I am so grateful. Sometimes I wonder about the different things I want. A different place to stay. A different routine. A plan for next year. Those wants are real, but there’s another question. What of this do I want? More fully, more wholly, muscles tensing and relaxing with the attention of touch—what of this?
I want to be here, laughing and working and cooking and sitting with my family. I want to write this, listening to Ross Gay and Richard Wilbur and all the countless others I think about whenever I wonder after something. I want the softness of the bed I’m laying on. I want the reach of trying to understand, or perhaps connect, and the relaxation (soon) of rolling over and going to sleep.
I wish what I wished you before, but harder. Maybe the moments of peace, inspiration, and connection that I feel aren’t so different from the moments of grey distance. Maybe they’re simply a halfstep more themselves. A dancestep more grateful. A steady step. Here. And friends, this is the realest place I know.